In October, I had the honor of delivering the “President-to-Presidents Lecture” at the annual meeting of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), where 200 presidents and chancellors gathered to explore issues facing higher education to ensure that we, as leaders, are doing our best to provide future generations with the tools they need to lead our country forward.
It was an honor, in this context, to use Montclair State as an example of a University that has put in the time and the work it takes to give its students the opportunities and excellence they deserve. In the nearly 20 years that I have been at the University, we have grown from 12,000 to 21,000 students. When I arrived, we granted about 2,200 degrees a year; today our university grants more than 5,200 degrees each year. We have added new colleges, schools, programs, research institutes and centers. We have added doctoral programs. We have built hundreds of thousands of square feet of instructional, laboratory and research space as well as residence halls and parking spaces. We rebuilt the entire energy infrastructure of the campus and hired hundreds more faculty and professional staff.
But that’s not all. As you’ll read in these pages, this summer saw additional fruits of our labor, when Governor Christie signed into law a bill, supported unanimously by both the New Jersey Senate and the Assembly, establishing Montclair State University as a public research university.
How did we manage these transformational accomplishments? The answer, which I shared with my fellow presidents, is simple: sweat equity. We did not stand and wait. We worked really hard and we worked really smart.
And our work never stops. As you’ll read here, this fall we welcomed our first cohort of students in our Bachelor of Science in Nursing program; we are in the process of expanding our College Hall and Mallory Hall facilities to serve students better; and the School of Communication and Media just opened its new home – a technological wonder that, thanks to our strategic partnership with Sony, offers the most advanced digital film and broadcast equipment, technologies and studios at any university in the country.
We continue contributing that sweat equity, as do our students, many of whom are the first in their families to go to college. All this work and growth enriches the lives of our students, whose experiences at the University lead to the completion of degrees that will enable them to realize their potential and expand their opportunities. I hope you share the pride we take in the University’s accomplishments because Montclair State’s momentum has been made possible, in large part, to the generous support of our alumni and friends. For that, we and our students thank you.
Susan A. Cole